In one study, almost 9 in 10 young people questioning their gender seemed to be subject to social influence.

In one study, almost 9 in 10 young people questioning their gender seemed to be subject to social influence. Expand
In one study, almost 9 in 10 young people questioning their gender seemed to be subject to social influence.

86.7% of the young people in Lisa Littman’s 2018 study [1] belonged to a friend group where one or more friends came out as trans at the same time, and/or had an increase in their use of social media.

Social contagion – the involuntary “catching” of behaviors and attitudes across connected individuals [2] – is a well-accepted phenomenon in psychological literature [3]. It is well-documented that adolescents — and females in particular — are prone to social contagion effects, from cutting [4] to eating disorders [5]. Social network analyses suggest that peer contagion underlies the influence of friendship on obesity, unhealthy body images, and expectations [6].

REFERENCES

[1] Littman, L. (2018). Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports. PLOS ONE, 13 (8). [Link]

[2] Levy, D. A., & Nail, P. R. (1993). Contagion: A theoretical and empirical review and reconceptualization. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs 119 (2): 233-284. [Link]

[3] Burgess, L.G., Riddell, P.M., Fancourt, A. & Murayama, K. (2018). The Influence of Social Contagion Within Education: A Motivational Perspective. Mind, Brain, and Education 12: 164-174. [Link]

[4] Hermansson-Webb, E. B. (2014). ‘With Friends Like These…’: The Social Contagion of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Amongst Adolescent Females. Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy: University of Otago. [Link]

[5] Allison, S., Warin, M. & Bastiampillai, T. (2013). Anorexia nervosa and social contagion: Clinical implications. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 48 (2): 116-120. [Link]

[6] Dishion, T. J., & Tipsord, J. M. (2011). Peer contagion in child and adolescent social and emotional development. Annual review of psychology 62: 189–214. [Link]